Big Sur Road Closed: Viaduct at Rocky Creek Long Term Solution (2011)

While the vehicle closure of our Big Sur road at Rocky Creek / Bixby Creek may be lifted this weekend, here’s a couple of related things you might appreciate.

Coyote Curious

Coyote Curious

1. The slide at Rocky Creek occurred because the road at the specific location was built on dirt – not rock. There is bedrock on both sides of the slide, but not surprisingly the slide occurred on the dirt section.

2. One Fully loaded truck trip can do as much damage to Highway One as almost 10,000 cars trips.

    According to American Assn. of State Transportation Officials (AASTO) [made up of the Dept. of Transportation heads in each state]–one truck loaded to the US legal limit of 80,000 lbs. has the impact on a point of highway as 9,600 cars.

3. Cal-Trans long term solution for the slide is to build a “Viaduct.” That’s really a “bridge” supported from the two rocky points embracing the slide area. This will cost several million dollars and probably won’t occur for a couple of years (until the state budget improves). It may have a single center support that does go all the way down (maybe 200 feet) to bedrock.

Rocky Cr. Slide Concrete Cover

Rocky Cr. Slide Concrete Cover

Update on the slide length: Most media is still reporting the slide as only 40 to 70 feet long. I paced it this week using the Northbound lane and also measured the distance between posts. The slide came to 69 of my steps and the post centers are 6 feet. My stride is about 3 feet making the slide length roughly 205 feet long. This makes my original estimate of 150 feet fairly close compared to the media.

Pt Sur Straightaway Empty

Pt Sur Straightaway Empty

Because Highway One is so little used now in the evenings, I had the rare and fun occasion to walk down the center of Highway One along the half mile or so from Molera park entrance to the long straight section going past Point Sur. Only two cars interrupted my walk – and I could hear them (over the sounds of the distant surf) coming at least 30 seconds in advance. So I had plenty of time to set up my tripod in the road and run 50 feet with my pack on to get in this photo.

The previous morning I’d awoken to see a pair of coyotes silently watching the morning dawn. This one I caught with the camera looked like a wolf to my sleepy eyes (and yes, I realize there aren’t any wolves in our area.) Another morning I heard a chorus of coyotes (no, it was not the Big Sur Singers. . . although . . . :-) that included a handful of pups with tiny coyote voices.

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